Atmore preparing for battle with No. 8 St. Paul's

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, September 26, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
The undefeated Escambia County Blue Devils face their toughest opponent so far this Friday when they host the AHSAA Class 5A No. 8 St. Paul's Saints.
ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said he knows what lies ahead for the Devils, but he is still going to focus on his team during practice.
"Like every other week this season we are going to look at the film of our games and try and improve on what we are doing wrong," Davis said. "But I do know we can't play the way we did last week against Hillcrest and expect to win."
Davis stressed the importance of the Devil defense.
"I feel like defensively we match up with them well and our defense has kept us in games," Davis said. "Our offense needs to do more in this game and rise to the challenge. And our defense needs to continue to play good, physical hard-nosed football."
The Devils are playing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders after last year's 55-21 rout in Mobile.
"Last year, they embarrassed us and they felt like they could do whatever they wanted with us," Davis said. "I think they may feel that again this year. But we need to stay close with them until the fourth quarter and if we can do that, then we might have a chance to win the ball game."
This game can be a measuring stick for the Blue Devils for the rest of the year.
"If we play them tight, it will do a lot for our guys because then they know we are a good team," Davis said. "Because even if we lose, if it was a close game then we can say we hung with one of the best 5A teams in the state."
The physical part of the game will be no problem for the Devils, it will be the mental aspect the Devils might have a problem with, Davis said.
"I believe physically we truly match up with them, but the whole mental game of our guys thinking they are better than us is where we could run into trouble," he said.
St. Paul's has four seniors the Blue Devils will need to watch out for, according to Davis. Running back Ivan Matchett, wide receivers Destin Hood and Mark Barron and Louis Watson could cause the Devil defense fits if they find open space.
"We have to keep doing what we are doing and not let those guys find open space," Davis said. "We need our front seven to have a great game."
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Herbert Barnes Stadium in Atmore.

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